Step out from under the weight of comparisons!

It is so incredibly easy to get out of balance as a wife, a mother, an employee, a ministry leader, a homemaker, a boss, etc.  We can let our “roles” consume us.  We compare ourselves to other women in those roles and feel we’re somehow lacking.  Then we start picking up self-help books, we google “how to become a better __________”, we attend classes and workshops, we beat ourselves up for not being as “good” as other women, we relentlessly push ourselves to be better!  And the whole time, we push our relationship with God farther and farther away.  I mean, who even has time for God when we are completely focused on being the best ___________.

Sometimes we need to pull back and refocus our attention and adoration on God.  We need to readjust our heart posture.  We need to go back to square one and spend time worshiping the creator of the universe…the one who created you!  Colossians 3:1-2 says “Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”

I find when I spend time worshiping God and spending some quiet moments just sitting with Him, I gain a whole new perspective on what’s important.  I am better able to choose how to use my limited time and energy.  I don’t feel so driven to compete with the other wives and moms and ministry leaders.  Spend 10 minutes every day this week simply worshiping God.  Crank up the worship music if that helps.   As you focus on the majesty and love of Christ, you will develop a heart posture that brings balance….and peace.

If your heart is growing cold toward him…

I know what it’s like for a wife’s heart to grow hard and cold toward her husband.  I let that happen in my first marriage of 18 years…a marriage that ended in divorce.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Your marriage and your family are worth fighting for!

In my experience, the reason a wife’s heart grows cold usually comes down to two things.  She has not established firm, clear boundaries on disrespectful or destructive behavior…or she has expected her husband to make her happy and blames him for failing to do so.  Could one of these reasons apply to you?

Boundaries:  It is Biblical to lovingly confront someone who is sinning against you and establish boundaries in that relationship…with the goal being that the person will repent and be welcomed back into full relationship.  Read Matthew 18:15-17 to learn what Jesus has to say about this.  Also keep in mind Galatians 6:1, which says. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.”

Expectations:  If you expect your husband to make you happy, realize you have an unrealistic expectation!  The only one who you can trust 100% to bring you fulfillment, joy, and perfect love is….the Lord!  Make the relationship with Him your top priority, and once you feel secure in that relationship, your heart will likely become softer and more compassionate toward your husband.

Recognizing emotional abuse in your relationship

Yesterday, we examined what constitutes physical abuse within a marriage.  Today, let’s explore something much more subtle and overlooked…verbal and emotional abuse.  Once again, I strongly urge women to take a stand against abuse of any kind.  Keep in mind, you are showing your children (especially your daughters) that either women are supposed to be weak, helpless, perpetual victims or that women can be confident and strong while still displaying love and kindness.

After doing much research, here’s a fairly comprehensive list of behavior that constitutes verbal or emotional abuse:  Frequently calling you obscene names, often yelling in rage, a pattern of constantly criticizing you and putting you down, prolonged periods of refusing to talk to you at all, pattern of ridiculing or making fun of you, pattern of mocking you or mean-spirited sarcasm,  verbal threats of violence, intimidation through displaying knives or guns, constantly accusing you of wrongdoing, forbidding you to talk to parents or siblings, preventing you from leaving the house, refusing to allow you to talk on the phone, forbidding you from speaking to friends or neighbors.

Again, I urge you to take a stand against this kind of abuse.  You are a valuable woman.  You are God’s daughter and precious in His sight.  Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally pummeled.  You will slowly be destroyed.  That is NOT God’s plan for you.  In fact, God instructs us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23….”Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life“.  If you are suffering this kind of abuse, please talk to your pastor, pastor’s wife, or a certified counselor.  Your husband may be upset, but you must protect your heart.  By the way, if you fear for your physical safety as a result of revealing the emotional abuse, then take protective measures such as moving to a friend’s home or a domestic violence shelter while you work through the issues with your husband.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

All these things are considered physical abuse

I was talking with a wife the other day who has endured physical abuse from her husband for years.  It began so slowly that it she didn’t realize she was the victim of domestic violence until her injuries had become pretty serious.  I was reminded that wives, especially Christian wives, need to be alerted to what actually constitutes physical abuse.

The following constitutes physical abuse:  Punching, slapping, shoving aggressively, kicking, trapping physically (as against a wall), twisting arm painfully, throwing objects at you aggressively, biting, pulling your hair painfully, a pattern of refusing to allow you to sleep, regularly requiring you to work until exhaustion or while sick, tying you up against your will, forcing you to perform sex acts against your will, forcing himself on you sexually against your will, forcing you to use alcohol or drugs, denying you medical care.

If your husband or boyfriend is currently doing any of those above things, call 911 and seek immediate protection at your local domestic violence shelter.  If these behaviors are not currently occurring but have occurred fairly recently, you still need help.  I strongly urge you to call your local, confidential domestic violence hotline.  It’s time for Christian wives to stand up against abuse!  The Bible makes it clear that husbands are to treat their wives kindly.  1 Peter 3:7 instructs husbands to be considerate of their wives and to treat them with honor as the weaker vessel.  Furthermore, Ephesians 5:11 says “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them”.  So, don’t cover up your husband’s or boyfriend’s abuse.  He is not your enemy, but he needs to be stopped, both for his own good and for your welfare.

What to do if your husband seems selfish

When a husband is clearly sinning against you through something like verbal abuse or an affair with another woman, it seems pretty clear that you should take a stand, draw boundaries, and maybe even have a time of separation.  However, the Christian wife isn’t always as certain about how to handle a husband who simply seems to be selfish.  This is the kind of husband who almost always does exactly what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, with little regard for the desires of his wife or children.   What’s a wife to do?

First, realize that your husband’s selfishness is not okay with God, and thus, it shouldn’t be okay with you.  In the famous love passage in 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible says love is notself-seeking“, and in Philippians 2:4, the Bible says “each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interest of others.”

Second, you must realize that nothing is likely to change unless you sit down with your husband and bring the problem to his attention.  It’s time to gently and calmly tell your husband the truth about how you are being negatively impacted by his focus on doing what he wants without regard to your wishes.  Ephesians 4:15 says we should “speak the truth in love“, so gently explain the problem. Then directly ask him if he is willing to begin considering your desires when the two of you don’t agree on something.  Ask him if he is willing to work with you to forge a compromise the next time you disagree.  Hopefully, by bringing the problem to his attention, he will begin considering your interests.  If he doesn’t, it’s probably time to ask him to go with you to meet with a pastor or counselor.

Helping a husband struggling with porn

I was asked recently how a woman can help her husband (or boyfriend) if he’s struggling with the temptation to view pornography.  This is such a difficult question because, ultimately, he has to be the one who does what is necessary to overcome this temptation.

However, there are 2 things that you can do:

1) Sit down with him and let him know that you want to support him and help him in any way as he wrestles against this temptation.  Then gently and lovingly ask him to share with you the things that seem to trigger the desire to view porn.  As you show compassion and understanding, he will be more likely to feel safe sharing the things that trigger him.  Then once he shares those “triggers”, you can ask what you can do to help him avoid those triggers.

2) Insist that he actively pursues assistance from a 12-step group, sexual addiction treatment program, or a godly mentor with experience in this area.  He needs other people to help hold him accountable and to pray for him.  He NEEDS to have other men speak into his life and help him deal with the common temptation to lust and view pornography.  Accountability is Biblical.  James 5:16 instructs, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

2 things that make you attractive to husband

When men are surveyed about what makes a woman attractive, other than classically beautiful features, a strong majority say….her confidence!  So, if you want to be attractive to your husband (or to your boyfriend), work at developing confidence.  Work at becoming secure.

I believe you do this by spending time meditating on God’s love for you!  He loves you so much he actually adopted you as his beloved child!  He is your Papa!  Meditate on this Scripture from Galatians 4:  “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

The second quality that is extremely attractive is…humility.  Most men run from a woman who is self-righteous and judgmental.  A husband is repelled by a wife who conveys that she thinks she’s better than him!  However, a husband’s heart is drawn to a wife who is humble, kind and compassionate. The Bible instructs us to be this kind of person!  Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

P.S  Yes, you can carry yourself with confidence, while at the same time displaying humility!  This means having self-respect and dignity, but refusing to act like you’re superior to your guy.